the sick get sicker
"Health is a gold crown only the sick can see."
My lab results came back today. They are, how do I put it... not good. I've regressed by pretty much every metric, and the worst part is I don't even know why. Was it caused by my summer frolicking in New York? The change in my medications? Nobody seems to know the answers to these questions, least of all my doctor, who doesn't even bother inquiring about these things. We're waging a war against an unknown, invisible enemy, and we don't even know the rules. I'm playing poker against the house blindfolded: what little wins I do stumble upon are quickly wiped out.
Funnily enough, the most stressful part of getting this news is not the news itself, but rather, as in most aspects of my life, my parents' reaction to it. I hesitate to call them 'helicopter parents' because they don't hover above my life as much as they backseat drive it (or take the wheel entirely), in the way many immigrant parents do. They play a slightly overbearing role in most of my major life decisions, like where I live and what I do for a living. And this engagement kicks into overdrive when it comes to these medical issues.
Getting their help is a blessing sometimes. It's taken me many years to appreciate the way they show their love, and I still struggle with it. Even if I feel a bit ashamed when they insist on sitting in on my appointments with me (now not just a former baby but also a grown adult), I'm glad they're there, taking notes and backing me up. They ask good questions in broken English and help me navigate the labyrinth that is the American healthcare and insurance system. I am especially grateful to my mother, who carefully monitors my diet, weighing my food on a scale and researching the macros of everything I eat, even if sometimes I fantasize of eating things other than boiled unsalted vegetables and small morsels of fish.
As you might imagine, this extreme level of engagement takes its toll on me. I have a hard enough time dealing with life as is, and being told by my mother that my worsening medical condition is the result of my questionable life choices only succeed in making me feel worse. (Culprits include, according to her, going abroad to "the third world", eating too much (touché, I guess), and perhaps most bafflingly, exercising. Still trying to figure that one out.) And when they strongly oppose any and all my attempts to move out and build an independent adult life, I feel conflicted. On one hand, I know they do all this out of a place of love: they want me to stay with them so they can watch my diet, make sure I go to bed early, and take care of me when I'm sick or have an operation. Naturally, I don't want to push back too hard on them trying to help me. On the flipside, my twenties are passing me by one year at a time—shouldn't I go out and live a little while I still can? I can't bring myself to reconcile the two desires tussling with each other in my heart, so the status quo prevails and I stay home. But how long can I keep doing this? And will I one day look back and regret not having agitated more?
"A healthy man wants a thousand things, a sick man only wants one."